Climate Disaster Fund Paid For By Fossil Fuel Producers Proposed

National Climate Disaster Fund - TAI

It’s time fossil fuel producers in Australia started paying for some of the damages associated with climate change says The Australia Institute.

Released this morning, TAI’s proposed National Climate Disaster Fund (NCDF) would be funded through a $1 per tonne of carbon emissions levy on coal, gas and oil production in Australia; raising around $1.5 billion a year based on current levels.

“The frequency and intensity of natural disasters such as bushfires and floods will keep increasing while we keep pumping more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Australia urgently needs a dedicated, independently administered fund to cope with the ever increasing costs of these disasters,” said TAI Principal Adviser Mark Ogge.

Such a levy appears to have strong community backing. Polling for the TAI’s Climate of the Nation 2019 report found 62% of Australians support a fossil fuel levy to pay for climate change impacts.

Natural disasters currently cost Australians an estimated $13 billion per year and while how much of that is attributable to climate change related (or exacerbated) events is debatable, these costs will continue to climb as warming increases and disasters become more common and severe.

Earlier this year, a Moody’s report put the global economic costs of climate change by the end of this century at almost $100 trillion based on 2 degrees of warming.

A Drop In The Carbon Emissions Carnage Bucket

The Institute says the $1 per tonne levy would have “virtually no effect” on energy prices or coal jobs – and it’s really just a drop in the bucket of costs associated with climate change. TAI says the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC), which includes climate change impacts,  is conservatively estimated at between USD $60 and $417 per tonne.

“The companies extracting coal and gas from Australia are mostly large multinational companies who make little if any contribution to paying the costs of the global warming they are fuelling and little if any company tax in Australia,” states the proposal.

The full National Climate Disaster Fund proposal can be viewed here – it would be an interesting read for our Prime Minister, who is apparently on holidays and might have a bit of time on his hands. Fiddling and Rome burning springs to mind.

Talk of such levies on fossil fuel producers is all well and good and their implementation desirable so long as it doesn’t just provide an excuse to keep polluting; as these measures at such low levels will only provide the equivalent of a band-aid over a gangrenous wound. Why not implement much higher levies, which will accelerate the transition to a world run on renewables including wind and solar power?

But good luck with trying to get that happening in the current environment – at least TAI’s proposal could the thin edge of the wedge.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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